In Focus This Week
How COVID-19 is influencing voters’ views of election administration, reforms
By Tom Bonier, TargetSmart CEO &
Ben Lazarus, TargetSmart Director of Research Solutions
Most American voters are concerned that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak will prevent U.S. citizens from participating in the 2020 elections. As a result, huge majorities are supportive of a broad array of reforms to ensure it is safe to vote come November.
These findings are drawn from a nationwide study of registered voters in the United States to see how the American public is thinking about this year’s elections in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. This mixed-mode, phone/web survey was administered from April 8-11, 2020 by the data collection specialists at Dynata and reached 1,200 registered voters matched to the TargetSmart voter file.
We hope this poll will be a resource to election administrators, academics and elected officials across the country. That’s why we’ve released the toplines, crosstabs, analysis slides, and a full statement on the poll’s methodology.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
This study reveals that voters express profound concerns about the impact COVID-19 will have on our elections. Overall, about as many American voters are concerned that the coronavirus outbreak will prevent citizens from voting in this year’s elections (63% very or somewhat concerned) as express concerns about losing income due to the pandemic (61% very or somewhat concerned). See Figure 1 below.
Additionally, a substantial proportion of American voters (46%) are at least somewhat worried that they, or someone in their immediate family, might catch the coronavirus while voting at the place where they usually cast their ballot while just 1-in-4 American voters (25%) are not worried at all about these dangers.
As a result, this poll strongly suggests that American voters want policy makers and elections administrators to act to ensure that all citizens can vote safely in the 2020 elections.
Overwhelming majorities believe it is important for state and local government to provide alternatives to in-person voting (46% very important, 32% somewhat important, 18% not important) and for the federal government to provide additional funding to states and counties to cover the increased costs of conducting elections due to the coronavirus outbreak (45% very important, 32% somewhat important, 18% not important). See Figures 2 & 3 below.
What’s more, as shown in Figure 4, a wide range of specific reforms currently under consideration are broadly-to-almost ubiquitously popular with American voters across the political spectrum.
These include expanded access to early voting and vote-by-mail (as well as pre-paid postage), increasing the number of in-person polling places to minimize lines, allowing voters to cast a ballot at any voting precinct in their county, extending voter registration deadlines and allowing same-day registration, and ensuring all working citizens get paid time off for voting. The only reforms we tested that are met with significant skepticism are online voting and delaying the November election.
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2020 Primary Updates
Illinois: The Chicago Board of Elections announced this week that one March 17 primary poll worker has subsequently died from COVID-19 and additional poll workers have tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus. The BOE is sending letters to voters in all affected polling places. The poll worker who died was identified as Revall Burke, 60, a long-time poll worker who was also a city employee.
Rescheduled Primaries: At press time, the following states have rescheduled their primaries: Connecticut 6/2; Delaware 6/2; Georgia 6/9; Indiana 6/2; Kentucky 6/23; Louisiana 7/11; Maine 7/14; Maryland 6/2; New Jersey 7/7; New York 6/23; Ohio 4/28; Pennsylvania 6/2; Rhode Island 6/2 Virginia 6/23; and West Virginia 6/9.
Legislative and legal actions surrounding the elections and the coronavirus pandemic can be found in their respective sections of the newsletter.
General Election: Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he “can’t guarantee” in-person voting for the November general election will be safe. “Do you think it will be safe in November for voters to physically go to vote at the polls?” Tapper asked Fauci in an interview. “I hope so,” replied Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “I can’t guarantee it.”
Alabama: The Alabama League of Municipalities’ executive committee is scheduled to consider asking for a one-year delay of municipal elections due to the COVID-19 crisis, the league’s deputy director said today. The executive committee is expected to vote on Thursday whether to ask the state Legislature to postpone municipal elections scheduled for Aug. 25 of this year until 2021.
California: Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered that Santa Ana’s special recall election will happen entirely through mail-in ballots to abide by public health guidelines during the coronavirus emergency. Newsom’s new order, issued late Thursday, applies to a number of other cities up and down the state who have special elections slated for this year outside the November general election.
Colorado: The May 5 special election in Pueblo County will be entirely by mail. No voter service or polling centers will be open. All voters must mail-in or drop off their ballots. Election officials set up a drive-up tent to help those who don’t receive a ballot, or who need a new one. Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz said he expects a big turnout.
Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order last week delaying municipal elections in Pasco County that originally been scheduled for April 14. The governor said he’ll work with local governments that want to move elections. “Certainly, anyone that requests to me pushing off to August, I don’t think there is any election that couldn’t be done in August,” said DeSantis. “I don’t think we’d lose much. So, I am happy to work with them on that.”
Georgia: The State Election Board voted unanimously Wednesday to allow Georgia voters to turn in their absentee ballots at drop boxes, an option that avoids human contact during the coronavirus pandemic. Drop boxes can be set up on government property before Georgia’s primary on June 9.
Louisiana: This week, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) and Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) agreed to delay the presidential primary election – originally set for April 4th, but pushed back until June 20th – until July 11th to give Ardoin’s office more time to prepare. The subsequent general election for some local races was delayed until August 15th. “There’s just more work that needs to be done and I think he just needed another month,” state Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Sharon Hewitt (R-Slidell) told The Advocate, noting Ardoin’s office needed more equipment and had to print more ballots.
Maine: Gov. Janet Mills has signed an executive order officially moving Maine’s primary election from June 9 to July 14. The Order, which is effective immediately, also allows applications for absentee ballots to be made in writing or in person, without specifying a reason, up to and including the day of the election. “This postponement will provide Maine people with more time to request an absentee ballot and will allow the Secretary of State’s Office to work with municipalities to ensure that in-person voting can be done in as safe a way as possible. I recognize the ramifications this has both for voters and those running for office this year, and I appreciate their flexibility as we work to protect our elections and the health of our people.”
Maryland: Three in-person voting centers will be open for the 7th congressional district special general election on April 28 for voters who can’t get their ballots cast by mail. One voting center will be open in each local jurisdiction; Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.
Missouri: This week Gov. Mark Parson rejected a plan, supported by local elections officials, to allow anyone to vote absentee during the pandemic. Parson said calls for that kind of change are actually about politics, though, and don’t need to be addressed right now. “The absentee ballot is more of a political issue than it is anything,” he said. “This is a Democrat-Republican issue and that’s where this is all headed, is to a political answer as to what’s driving behind this force.” Parson added that right now, the government needs to focus on jobs and the economy, not elections. “There will be time to talk about the elections in November, and August, but now’s not the time for that,” he said.
Nebraska: Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed an executive order to relieve counties from the duty to provide in-person voter registration inside of election offices and eliminated the requirement for in-person early voting. County offices must continue to accommodate voters were require Americans With Disabilities ballot marking. These voters may schedule an appointment with election offices. In Madison County, the demand for absentee ballots has been so high it needed to borrow envelopes from other jurisdictions.
Nevada: Earlier this week, the state Democratic Party requested that the state open limited vote centers for the upcoming vote-by-mail election. The Party also asked that officials stop rejecting ballots with mismatched signatures and suspend prosecution of those accused of “ballot harvesting” — or illegally handing in a ballot on someone else’s behalf. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Deputy Secretary of State Wayne Thorley on Tuesday issued a point-by-point response to those requests. “The Nevada State Democratic Party asks me to ignore laws that were enacted by the Nevada Legislature,” Thorley wrote. “I am asked to disregard long-standing voter integrity provisions found in NRS 293.325 and 293.330, including the restriction on ballot harvesting. I am also asked to extend the signature cure deadline despite the hard deadline that exists in NRS 293.333. We are a nation of laws. My job, as defined in NRS 293.124, is to faithfully execute and enforce state election laws as written.” Short answer: No.
New Hampshire: A memo from Secretary of State William Gardner and the state’s attorney general has opened up absentee voting to anyone with health-related concerns or fears in the upcoming state elections. “Voters should not have to choose between their health and exercising their constitutional right to vote,” the officials wrote according to WMUR. “Thus, any voter who is unable to vote in person in the September 8, 2020 Primary Election or the November 3, 2020 General Election because of illness from COVID-19 or who fears that voting in person may expose himself/herself or others to COVID-19 will be deemed to come within the definition of ‘disability’ for purposes of obtaining an absentee ballot. “Any voter may request an absentee ballot for the September 2020 Primary and November 2020 General Elections based on concerns regarding COVID-19.”
North Dakota: Despite calls from county elections officials to do so, Gov. Doug Burgum has refused to mandate that all polling places close for the state’s June 9 primary. “The bottom line is the governor wanted to provide flexibility to the counties to decide if they wanted to do mail-ballot-only elections based on their individual circumstances,” spokesman Mike Nowatzki told The Associated Press.
Ohio: The Hancock County board of elections had to bring additional workers to handle the influx of requests for absentee ballots for the state’s mail-only April 28 primary. According to The Courier, 20 workers have been sending out 1,000 ballots daily.
Pennsylvania: A number of Pennsylvania counties, including the state’s two largest voting jurisdictions, are call on the state to move to an all vote-by-mail primary on June 2. Allegheny County Executive praised the postponement of the primary but said questioned the need to have polling places open. “That doesn’t absolve counties of the responsibility of still staffing those hundreds of polling places,” Mr. Fitzgerald said according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That’s the rub. What we’re saying is, ‘Let everybody vote by mail.’”
South Dakota: Secretary of State Steve Barnett has notified county auditors that he intends to mail absentee ballot applications to all South Dakotans registered in the statewide voter registration files. Voters who’ve already applied for an absentee ballot or in counties where auditors are sending out absentee ballot applications on their own will be exempt from the unsolicited mailing list, Barnett told the Argus Leader. Ensuring every South Dakota voter has access to exercise their right to vote is the goal of all election officials in our state,” Barnett wrote in correspondence sent to auditors. “In response to the current pandemic, we are encouraging all South Dakotans to utilize our state’s absentee vote-by- mail option for our upcoming elections.” Counties where auditors are sending their own mailings include Meade, Douglas and Perkins.
Tennessee: The Overton County election commission has voted to move the Livingston municipal election to August. The commission had originally considered moving the primary to later in May, but ultimately settled on August.
Wyoming: Wyoming’s statewide primary is scheduled for August 18 and Will Dinneen, communications and policy director for the secretary of state’s office said that late date should help the Cowboy State stay on track. “There is no plan … to move the August primary,” Dinneen told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. “With that being said, we’re looking at facets of this fast-moving situation with COVID-19 to protect voters, poll workers and county staff, and to be able to respond nimbly as we move forward to that date, which looks far, far away, but it’ll come faster than we know.” State officials are working on a plan to expand absentee voting to anyone who prefers that option, Dinneen said.
Election News This Week
The Athens-Clarke commission has voted to pay $41,633 in legal fees on behalf of the county’s board of election that back in March voted to switch to paper ballots for the state’s now-delayed primary. Although the county attorney authorized hiring a government law specialist, the board also hired their own attorney in their fight against the State Board of Elections—which they ultimately lost. Although the commissioners voted to pay the fees, the were split on the actions taken by the board. Commissioner Tim Denson praised the intent of the board, but questioned its tactics and agreed with another commissioner about precedent. “We can’t have all of our boards and authorities doing these things,” Denson said.
A newly formed task force is on the lookout for election fraud in West Virginia. The West Virginia Election Fraud Task Force will be led by Assistant United States Attorneys from both the Southern and Northern Districts of West Virginia, Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and investigators from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office. The attorneys will be responsible for overseeing the federal response to any complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses. According to West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, the use of absentee ballots could present additional opportunities for voter fraud during an election. “These are extraordinary times calling for an extraordinary partnership to protect the integrity of our elections and to maintain confidence among the voters,” Warner said according to WOWK.
While the elections community is focusing on the future, the History Channel has a great look back at the history of how Americans have voted in the United States through the years. The article has sections on voice voting, paper ballots, the first voting machines, the “hanging chad” era, electronic voting and the move back to paper ballots. It’s a fun read with plenty of photos too so you can just what they are talking about.
Personnel News: Rich Vial, former deputy secretary of state in Oregon is running as non-affiliated candidate for the office. Yinka Faleti is running for Missouri secretary of state. Chris Davis is the new executive director of the Knox County, Tennessee elections. Carole Marple has stepped down as the Sherborn, Massachusetts clerk. Brian Swartzwelder has been hired as the deputy director of the Tuscarawas County, Ohio board of elections. Jack Baird has joined the Lorain County, Ohio board of elections. Chad Barnes has been named the new Caldwell County, North Carolina board of elections director.
In Memoriam: Lorri Poyzer, former Redlands, California city clerk, has died. She was 73. Poyzer began working in the City Clerk’s Office in 1976 and was appointed deputy city clerk a year later. In 1983 she was appointed city clerk, and she served seven elected terms before retiring in 2009. According to the Redlands Daily Facts, Poyzer served under 11 mayors and 29 City Council members, was the elections official for 20 contests and processed 29 ballot measures. “She was just an institution there,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands), a former mayor of the city told the paper. “She was fair when it came to the campaigns we all had to run and filings that had to be done … that’s what you want in a city clerk, is someone who is fair and doesn’t judge the politics or what’s happening in City Hall, but keeps an accurate count of what’s going on.”
Arkansas: The Joint Budget Committee voted down a proposal offered by Sen. Joyce Elliott that would have allowed for no-excuse absentee voting in November. Rep. Jim Dotson filed a competing amendment that would allow no-excuse absentees only if the governor still had an emergency declaration in effect. His amendment also said that those who request an absentee ballot would give up a right to vote at the poll. After Elliott’s bill was defeated Dotson withdrew his.
California: Under AB860 every registered voter in California would automatically receive a mail ballot, similar to the systems in Oregon and Washington.
Indiana: Marion County will spend up to about $1.1 million mailing out absentee ballot applications and ballots for the June primary and November general election, a move the City-County Council approved Monday night on a nearly partisan line. The 18-4 vote, with four of the council’s five Republicans voting against, came as Democrats stressed the need to protect the health of residents amid the coronavirus pandemic. The county has an estimated 645,000 registered voters.
Kentucky: Gov. Andy Beshear used a line-item to veto a provision of the budget stating that the secretary of state would have to approve any changes to an election made by a governor during a state of emergency.
Also in Kentucky, this week, lawmakers in both the Senate and House voted to override Beshear’s veto of SB2 which requires to show a photo ID in order to vote. The new law will be in place by the November general election but not the June primary.
Louisiana: Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin had sought permission from the state Legislature to allow absentee ballots to be given to those who are 60 years of age or older with underlying health issues and for anyone who has a stay home order or is self-quarantining to get a ballot as well. Committees in the House and Senate both denied the proposal.
Pennsylvania: State Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny) has moved to introduce legislation that would automatically send mail-in ballots to the homes of registered voters, allowing them to avoid potentially crowded public polling areas. Gainey’s proposed legislation would: Remove the requirement for registered voters to apply for mail-in ballots. Provide for the automatic issuance of mail-in ballots to all registered voters 60 days before a scheduled election. Provide voters the option of either voting by mail or voting in-person.
Texas: The Austin city council has approve a resolution asking Governor Greg Abbott and Secretary of State Ruth Hughes to allow all Texans to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.
Utah: According to Utah Public Radio, the Legislature will call itself into special session later this week to consider a number of items including expanding vote by mail. Lawmakers are looking at removing the requirement to hold in-person elections, and instead allow counties to decide whether to open polling places or only utilize vote by mail. “If they don’t want to, if they don’t feel like they can do it safely, they don’t have to,” House Speaker Brad Wilson said. “We’re going to give them more time to have people mail their ballots in.” More than 90% of voters already vote by mail, according to Utah’s Director of Elections Justin Lee.
Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam has signed multiple elections bills into law including a bill that will make Election Day at state holiday in Virginia, one that will allow early voting 45 days prior to an election without a stated excuse, another bill that removes the requirement that voters show a photo ID prior to casting a ballot another new law will implement automatic voter registration for individuals accessing service at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or the DMV website, another bill that would expand absentee voting timelines and a bill that would move poll closing times to 8 p.m.
Also this week, Northam has signed a bill into law that will implement a pilot program that gives localities the choice of using ranked-choice voting. The bill takes effect July 1, 2021. “States have always been the laboratories of democracy,” Del. Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville) told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We want elections with broad participation from diverse candidates and voters. Ranked choice voting helps achieve that goal.”
Florida: Chief U.S. District Judge Mark walker has dismissed a lawsuit over early voting sites on college and university campuses after voting rights groups and the governor’s office reached an agreement in the case. Secretary of State Laurel Lee issued a new directive to supervisors of elections this month that led to the lawsuit’s dismissal. In the April 2 directive, Lee wrote that the law “should be understood to require that the early voting sites collectively within a county provide sufficient nonpermitted parking to accommodate the anticipated amount of voters who require parking in order to access those sites.” Lee added, “This does not mean that every early voting site must have a certain number of nonpermitted parking sites available.”
Georgia: On behalf of five Gwinnett County organizations, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has filed suit demanding that absentee ballot materials be provided in Spanish. The suit claims that the decision not to send absentee ballot applications in Spanish requires them to divert time and resources that would go to other priorities to educating Spanish-speaking voters about how to complete applications and how to navigate voting by mail.
New Hampshire: Hillsborough Superior Court Judge David Anderson has struck down SB3 saying that it’s unconstitutional and unreasonably burdens the right to vote. In a ruling issued this week following a lengthy hearing process in 2018 and 2019, Anderson said the state failed to prove that the law was necessary to protect the integrity of New Hampshire’s elections or prevent voter fraud. The judge said, there is no proof such fraud is a serious problem in New Hampshire — and instead, the law added complexity and confusion that could dissuade people from voting.
New Mexico: Following a hearing that was live-streamed, the New Mexico Supreme Court has rejected an emergency petition that would have allowed the state to move to an all vote-by-mail election for the June 2 primary. In the petition, 27 of the state’s 33 county clerks requested permission to close polling places and conduct the election by mail. The New Mexico Constitution places the time, place, and manner of voting in the hands of the state legislature which cannot meet due to the pandemic. Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura made clear that the court had come to a unanimous decision on the matter, and pointed out that, “obviously this is a very difficult case, which is evidenced by the fact that the other branches of government have chosen not to act, and have come to the court for relief.” “The relief that is requested is specifically prohibited by New Mexico Statute Section 1-6-5F, which says that a mailed ballot shall not be delivered by the county clerk to any person other than the applicant for the ballot,” Nakamura said. Instead, the court directed the county clerks to mail absentee ballot applications to voters to encourage people to vote that way, rather than in person.
North Carolina: Judicial Watch has filed suit in federal court in Charlotte against the boards of elections in Guilford and Mecklenburg counties arguing that county officials aren’t complying with laws demanding they carry out a program that reasonably attempts to cancel registrations of people deemed ineligible to vote. The suit also argues the defendants also have failed to hand over records showing how the program is being implemented.
The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court against the North Carolina State Board of Elections and the elections boards of more than 20 individual counties over new voting machines that they claim lack security and pose a public health risk amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “The ExpressVote’s defects and security flaws create the risk that Plaintiffs, together with other North Carolina voters, will have their votes rendered meaningless or, worse yet, deemed cast for the wrong candidate,” wrote attorneys with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, who are representing the cases’ plaintiffs according to Courthouse News Service.
Ohio: In a 6-1 ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court has ordered state officials to certify a voting-access measure as a single-ballot issue over turning the decision of the state’s ballot board to split the measure into four separate measures. In a written opinion, justices said the campaign behind the measure, Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections, “has a clear legal right to certification of the proposed amendment” as a single issue, and that the Ohio Ballot Board “has a clear legal duty to make that certification.” They ordered the ballot board to meet within seven days to do so.
Texas: State District Judge Tim Sulak old the attorneys he will issue a temporary injunction allowing all voters who risk exposure to the coronavirus if they vote in person to ask for a mail-in ballot under a portion of the Texas election code allowing absentee ballots for voters who cite a disability. His ruling could greatly expand the number of voters casting ballots by mail in the upcoming July primary runoff elections. An appeal is expected.
Arizona: The state’s online voter registration system will be down this weekend as the Arizona Department of Transportation replaces the computer system that deals with licenses, vehicle registrations and subsequently voter registrations. “Arizonans who want to register to vote or update their voter registration will need to use a paper form between April 17 and 21,” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said in an announcement. According to ADOT, “the introduction of this state-of-the-art computer system has been planned for nearly five years and is required because the current platform used by MVD has elements that are more than 35 years old and are no longer sustainable.”
Utah: This week, a group of cybersecurity and computer science experts from various universities and institutes sent on a letter Gov. Gary Herbert and Elections Director Justin Lee a letter saying that “all internet voting systems and technologies are currently inherently insecure” and that “no mobile voting app is sufficiently secure to permit its use.” “Internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the United States, nor will it be in the foreseeable future,” the letter reads. “We urge you to refrain from allowing the use of any internet or voting app system and consider expanding access to voting by mail and early voting to maintain the security, accuracy, and voter protection essential for American elections in the face of this public health crisis.” According to Lee, the state is not considering implementing online voting during the pandemic. “It’s not really anything that we have specifically looked at,” the state elections director said, “particularly because we’re already a vote by mail state. And in the recent elections, over 90% of voters are voting by mail. So we seem to be covering most voters through the mail.”
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Vote by mail, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII | U.S. Postal Service, II | SCOTUS | President, II | Voter suppression | General election, II, III, IV, V | Vote counting | In-person voting | War on voting | Suffrage | Election officials | Election security | Congress | Pandemic
California: Vote by mail
Connecticut: Voting system
Hawaii: Vote by mail
Michigan: Safe elections
Minnesota: Wisconsin election
Nebraska: Vote by mail
New York: Vote by mail
Ohio: Vote by mail
Oregon: Vote by mail
Rhode Island: Election safety
Tennessee: Poll workers
West Virginia: Provisional ballots
VVSG 2.0 Public Comment Period
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is taking important steps to advance the development of the next generation of federal voting system standards, known as the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0, or VVSG 2.0. These steps include sharing the recommended VVSG 2.0 Requirements with the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors for review, launching a 90-day public comment period.
“Each step toward final approval of VVSG 2.0 is another step toward improving election security. The final VVSG requirements will enable manufacturers to develop updated, improved, accessible, and secure voting technology. The process to gather feedback from our stakeholders is critical to completing this process,” added EAC Chairman Ben Hovland, who has served as the EAC’s designated federal official for the TGDC for the past year. “We look forward to getting input from our Board of Advisors and Standards Board, and to hear from the public through the hearings and public comments.”
Last month, the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) unanimously voted to provide the EAC with recommendations on the VVSG 2.0 Requirements. The recommended requirements, developed with the support of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), were submitted to the EAC’s Acting Executive Director on March 9, 2020.
On March 11, the EAC submitted the proposed VVSG 2.0 Requirements to the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors for review.
The EAC has initiated a 90-day public comment period on the VVSG 2.0 Requirements, which will run through June 22, 2020. Those who wish to review the VVSG 2.0 Requirements document, as recommended by the TGDC, and submit comments may do so via regulations.gov.
EAC Commissioners are expected to consider the VVSG 2.0 for adoption following their review of feedback provided by the Standards Board and Board of Advisors on the proposed VVSG 2.0 Requirements, as well as testimony and comments provided during public hearings and the public comment period.
Upon adoption, VVSG 2.0 would be the fifth iteration of national-level voting system standards. VVSG 2.0 offers a new approach to the organization of the guidelines and seeks to address the next generation of voting equipment. It contains new and expanded material in many areas, including reliability and quality, usability and accessibility, security, and testing. The Federal Election Commission published the first two sets of federal standards in 1990 and 2002. The EAC then adopted Version 1.0 of the VVSG on December 13, 2005. In an effort to update and improve version 1.0 of the VVSG, on March 31, 2015, the EAC commissioners unanimously approved VVSG 1.1.
The advancement of the VVSG 2.0 Requirements follows efforts in recent years to advance the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines, which are 15 principles and related guidelines that form the core of VVSG 2.0 and are supported by the Requirements. The TGDC provided the EAC with recommendations on the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines in September 2017. The EAC Standards Board and Board of Advisors recommended the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines for adoption in April 2018. The EAC solicited public comments on the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines from February to June 2019, and held three public hearings on them in April and May 2019.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) establishes three federal advisory committees that support the EAC in its work: the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), the Standards Board, and the Board of Advisors.
The TGDC assists the EAC in developing the VVSG. The chairperson of the TGDC is the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The TGDC is composed of 14 other members appointed jointly by EAC and the director of NIST, including state and local election officials, individuals with technical and scientific expertise in voting systems, and representatives from the Access Board, American National Standards Institute, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
The Standards Board and Board of Advisors advise the EAC on various matters, including the development of the VVSG. The Standards Board consists of 55 state election officials selected by their respective chief state election official, and 55 local election officials selected through a process supervised by the chief state election official. HAVA prohibits any two members representing the same state to be members of the same political party.
The Board of Advisors consists of 37 members, as specified by HAVA. Members include two people appointed by each of the following groups: National Governors Association; National Conference of State Legislatures; National Association of Secretaries of State; The National Association of State Election Directors; National Association of Counties; The National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks; The U.S. Conference of Mayors; Election Center; International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials, and Treasurers; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. Other members include representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Integrity, and the Civil Rights Division; the director of the U.S. Department of Defense Federal Voting Assistance Program; four professionals from the field of science and technology, one each appointed by the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Majority and Minority leaders of the U.S. Senate; and eight members representing voter interests, with the chairs and the ranking minority members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration and the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration each appointing two members.
COVID-19 & Policy Options for Expanding Mail-in Ballots this November: Learn how you can be an informed and effective advocate for state-level policy change during this one-hour webinar featuring three expert speakers: Amber McReynolds, CEO for the National Vote At Home Institute and Coalition, will explain the current status of voting-by-mail / absentee voting across states, their options for expanding access, and key implementation questions states must address during their transition. Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R-Washington) will share how her state, an early adopter of Vote-by-Mail, makes elections accessible to populations for whom mailed ballots may present a challenge. Finally, Ben Hovland, Chairman of the Elections Assistance Commission, will discuss financial and technical support for states in preparing for the November elections. When: April 23 at 2pm(ET). Where: Online.
Local Representation: RCV as a State Rights Voting Remedy — Three states—California, Washington, and Oregon—now have their own voting rights acts, and multiple state legislatures are debating state VRA proposals this session. State VRAs come with opportunities for innovative remedies, like ranked-choice voting. Attend this session to learn about ranked-choice voting’s place in state voting rights challenges from California to (the) New York (island). Where: Online. When: April 29, 11am Eastern.
NASED Summer 2020 Conference: — Twice a year, the National Association of State Election Directors members gather to discuss the latest developments in election administration. Members of the public are welcome to attend at the non-member registration rate. Check back here for more information about the Summer 2020 Conference. Where: Reno, Nevada When: July 19-22.
NASS Summer 2020 Conference: The National Association of Secretaries of State will hold their Summer 2020 conference at the Silver Legacy Reno, Nevada. Check back here for more information about the Winter 2020 conference when it becomes available. Where: Reno, Nevada. When: July 19-22.
Job Postings This Week
electionlineWeekly publishes election administration job postings each week as a free service to our readers. To have your job listed in the newsletter, please send a copy of the job description, including a web link to email@example.com. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Communications Associate, Democracy Works— The communications team ensures the vision of Democracy Works is clearly and creatively articulated to our stakeholders in a variety of contexts. We develop strategic communication plans and programs for our internal and external audiences, promoting the mission and brand of Democracy Works across several channels. We love democracy and are excited to communicate our work to strengthen it. As a part of the team, you will: Support and maintain a strategic, goal-oriented vision for all Democracy Works internal and external communication projects; Develop fresh story ideas: Proactively research and write materials to tell our story and engage a variety of audiences (i.e. website, blog and social media content); Produce communication materials: Prepare executive talking points and bios, briefing materials, newsletters, and presentations that align with our organization’s strategic goals and branding; Assist other teams by copy-editing and proofreading written content; Brainstorm strategic outreach ideas, and produce creative content for new and ongoing projects; Media outreach: Identify strategic narratives and compelling storylines to pitch relevant reporters and secure timely media coverage; Media monitoring: Track and report media coverage of Democracy Works, our products, campaigns, and industry trends; and Press lists: Build and maintain comprehensive press lists to develop relationships with reporters Deadline: Target start date April 28. Salary: $58K-$68K. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Deputy Chief Information Security Officer, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— As the Deputy Chief Information Security Officer (Deputy CISO), the incumbent provides policy, leadership and direction, and serves as a key contributor to the EAC’s strategy regarding achieving mission goals; ensuring that all IT functions are integrated, prioritized and executed within agency priorities and allocated resources; and working closely with EAC’s service providers. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Deadline: April 27. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Development Director, Election Administration Resource Center— The Election Administration Resource Center is seeking a proactive, relationship-driven Development Director to help shape the organization’s fundraising strategy and establish a group of individual and foundation donors. You will collaborate with the Board, Executive Director, and staff to lead the organization to strong financial sustainability. Current funding is on a three-year cycle, and plans for the 2021-2024 period will start immediately. You are a highly-organized, self-monitoring exceptional communicator who loves prospecting, authentic relationship building, and making big asks. General job responsibilities: Work with the Finance Officer to plan and operate the annual budget; Establish and maintain relationships with various organizations throughout the nation and utilize these to enhance the mission of the Election Administration Resource Center; Identify potential donors and otherwise increase the overall visibility of the Election Administration Resource Center. Diversifying revenue streams and securing multi-year funding opportunities should be a primary focus; Lead the development and execution of a million dollar three-year fundraising strategy growing existing budget from $1M to $2M annually; Define appropriate goals, track metrics, and prepare progress reports for the board and grant funders; Develop and execute fundraising campaigns to increase the reach of the Election Administration Resource Center and generate revenue. Application: Please send a resume, three references, salary history, and requirements, along with a cover letter of no more than two pages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Jefferson County, OH BOE— The Jefferson County Board of Elections is currently accepting applications for the position of Director. The candidate must be a member of the Democratic Party and a qualified elector of Jefferson County within 30 days of employment at the agency. The Director will oversee the total operations of the Jefferson County Board of Elections, in conjunction with the current Deputy Director and members of the Board of Elections. All functions of the operation of the office fall under the responsibility of the Director. The following are the common operations of the office, but not all fall under the complete operation of the Director. The Director has the discretion of assigning duties to the Deputy Director and staff members as he or she sees fit. Deadline: May 20. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Communications, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— Plans and implements communications plans, events, media campaigns, press conferences, briefings, messaging and interviews. Participates in developing communications and media initiatives, planning and implementing of media events, and maintaining a proactive media strategy for the EAC. Develops and maintains productive relationships with members of the media. Enlist the cooperation of media representatives in providing accurate information to the public that furthers the goals and objectives of the EAC. Provides background information to the media as required and drafts talking points for spokespersons ahead of interviews and presentations. Researches, develops, writes and edits reports, presentations, press releases, fact sheets, feature articles, letters, speeches, testimony, annual reports, opinion pieces, videos, and other public-facing communications materials that effectively communicate the Commission’s goals to EAC stakeholders and a variety of public and internal audiences. Procures and manages contracts and assists with the procurement of other Communications-related needs, i.e. photography, video, subscriptions, and other non-EAC services and goods. Attends staff briefings and policy discussions to gain knowledge of Commission activities in order to remain current on the latest developments of interest to the public, assist in preparing for and responding to media inquiries, and formulate recommendations regarding agency policies and programs. Performs other related duties as assigned. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director, Information Services, Orange County, Florida— The director of information systems oversees all operations of the Information Systems Division. The director also provides strategic direction to the organization regarding Information Systems initiative and needs, and establishes security systems, policies, procedures and protocols related to all Information System functions. The director reports to the supervisor of elections, supervises a staff of 16, as well as temporary workers during election events. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Administration Manager, NC State Board of Elections— The State Board of Elections oversees the enforcement of federal and state laws, rules and procedures governing the conduct of elections, voter registration, and campaign finance activities in North Carolina. The Election Administration unit develops and manages processes, procedures, and policies for the conduct of elections by the State Board of Elections and county boards of elections. Specific programs include voter registration, absentee voting, in-person voting, provisional voting, candidate filing, petitions, and other areas or special programs specific to election administration. This primary purpose of this position is to oversee and manage a team of program specialists and program assistants in developing processes, procedures, and policies for the conduct of elections by the State Board of Elections and county boards of elections, specifically voter registration, absentee voting, in-person voting, provisional voting, candidate filing, petitions, and other areas or special programs specific to election administration. This position works collaboratively with other agency divisions including Training & Outreach, Voting Systems, Campaign Finance, Business Operations, and IT. Provides election administration policy recommendations to the agency’s Strategy Team and Executive Director. Salary: $51,895 – $83,025. Deadline: April 17. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply click here.
Elections Technology Specialist, Boulder County, Colorado— The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, Elections Division, has an opening for a Technology Specialist. This is a term position for the duration of 2020 which includes both the June 30 Primary Election and the November 3 General Election. This position will learn and perform a variety of complex, technical, and specialized tasks associated related to elections, software/hardware support, and voting systems. To be successful in this position you must be eager to learn, possess an aptitude for troubleshooting, technical information and documenting process through conversation, implementation and observation. Successful applicants will be comfortable in a high-stakes, team-focused work environment. We seek a person who is process-oriented and motivated to do meaningful work that facilitates the democratic process. Salary: $57, 024. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Grants Specialist, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The Grants Specialist will assist the Grants Director to manage and administer the grants program for the EAC pursuant to 5 USC §3109 (See 42 USC §15324(b)) and §204 (6)(c) of HAVA. The incumbent provides expert advice to EAC leadership regarding grants management; provides advice and guidance to States and U.S. territories regarding the use of funds provided by EAC to ensure State/U.S. territory compliance with HAVA, Appropriations Law and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars; conducts pre- and post-audits to review how funds have been spent; and makes recommendations to the Executive Director for audit resolutions. Salary: $69,581 to $128,920 per year. Deadline: June 17, 2020. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
IT Security Engineer, Dominion Voting Systems— We are looking for an IT Security Engineer to join our IT team in Denver, Colorado! We are looking for a security-minded individual who can perform both day-to-day technical management and maintenance of IT security programs and who can also strategically assess and enhance the overall IT security enterprise-wide. This role covers a broad scope of responsibilities as some days you may be evaluating new security solutions and attending security briefings, while other days you will be managing our existing IT security toolsets and reviewing threat and log data to identify risk and mitigate vulnerabilities. You must be a self-starter, who collaborates well with others and can explain IT security best practices to anyone from the end-users to executive team members. You will also work for hand and hand with colleagues within the IT department and work with our vendors and external threat organizations to understand and mitigate risks. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Portfolio Manager-Development/Fundraising, Democracy Works— The development team is responsible for generating revenue for Democracy Works programs, initiatives, and general operating expenses through individual donors, corporate partnerships, and foundation grants. We create strategic plans for each relationship and provide a tailored approach that engages each donor specific to their interests in strengthening democracy. As a part of the team, you will: Manage an assigned portfolio of donors and prospects with intent to discover donor potential. Have a minimum annual fundraising goal tied to a blended portfolio as specified in performance standards, including both renewable gifts and new incremental revenue. Develop aggregate donor management plans resulting in phone interaction and local face to face solicitation. Develop and execute an ongoing strategy for qualifying donors in extensive donor discovery, retention and growth of donor contributions, as well as recapture from previous donors. Work collaboratively with other departments and partners to refine and segment fundraising strategies matching the objectives and interests of the donor/prospect. Implement programs/activities to identify, cultivate and solicit donors nationally at the $10,000 level or higher, with an emphasis on maximizing revenue for Democracy Works. Update donor records in Salesforce following donor contacts. Be accountable for cultivating relationships of mostly individual, foundation and some corporate fundraising with focus on retention, recapture and growth. Salary: $72,000-$86,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Manager, Hart InterCivic— Project Managers at Hart InterCivic are highly motivated “self-starters” who are enthusiastic about providing exceptional customer service. Working with other members of the Professional Services and Operations teams, the Project Manager directs activity, solves problems, and develops lasting and strong relationships with our customers. Hart InterCivic’s unique and industry known culture of innovation, transparency, and customer-centric focus creates an environment where team members will continually grow and be challenged to develop their careers. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Proposals Manager, Hart InterCivic— The Proposals Program Manager will be responsible for leading and coordinating cross-functional teams for the successful development of proposals and management of the proposal lifecycle. This includes requests for proposals, requests for information, support for post-proposal contract questions, and other related activities. The Proposals Program Manager will work closely with key stakeholders and input providers across each peer group including Sales, Product Management, Finance, Operations and Engineering. This position reports to the Director of Certification and Proposals. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Quality Assurance Engineer, Democracy Works—You will be our first QA-specific hire, meaning that we are looking for someone who can help us build our approach to QA from the ground up with an eye toward providing guidance to our engineers in their work and potentially building out additional QA capacity over time. As a part of the team you will: Stand up end-to-end testing on our large/complex microservices setup; Structure our approach to QA from the ground up and potentially build a team of QA engineers over time; Write automated testing for our user-facings tools; Integrate into our dev process to confirm the quality of the code our developers are producing; Do some amount of manual testing as needed; Regularly collaborate with other members of the voter engagement team. Salary: $105K-$125K. Deadline: Target start date April 27. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Cyber Program Manager, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— As the Senior Cyber Program Manager, the incumbent provides policy, leadership and direction, and serves as a key contributor to the EAC’s strategy regarding the Election Technology Program. The incumbent furthers the EAC’s efforts in various arenas; works to improve federal, state and local relations with regard to elections; and provides strategic guidance to senior staff on various issues pertaining to elections and specifically, election security. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Deadline: April 27. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Site Reliability Engineer, Democracy Works— As our first Site Reliability Engineer, you will guide the direction of the infrastructure engineering discipline at Democracy Works; exemplifying reliable, measurable, secure and repeatable practices that will act as a “force multiplier” across our products. You will: Maintain our infrastructure using Terraform and Kubernetes. Design, build, maintain, and plan for growth of infrastructure at Democracy Works. Create and maintain monitoring and alerting for services. Create and maintain documentation for the systems and tools that you work with. Automate “toil” – discover repetitive manual actions, document those actions, and automate them if possible. Improve existing automation to mitigate risk introduced through the natural process of software change. Join an on-call rotation for services you are responsible for. Review existing code and architecture for security and reliability. Work closely with developers and product teams regarding security and reliability implications of software and infrastructure changes. Aid developers in debugging production issues across services in a distributed system. Assist with interview processes for other available roles at Democracy Works. Work with product teams to balance and prioritize your work according to external deadlines and organizational goals. Salary: $105,000 – $125,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Voter Service Manager, Arapahoe County, Colorado— This position provides the opportunity for you to take your voting or government-related experience to a new level in an exciting year where we will administer a statewide primary election in June and the November Presidential General Election. Join our team of dedicated public servants in supporting voters across Arapahoe County while upholding public trust and integrity in our elections process. This position will assist with complex administrative and supervisory work in directing daily activities. The Voter Service Manager supports the Elections Deputy Director, Chief Deputy Director and the Clerk and Recorder with issues concerning all operations of Elections. Salary: $65,960 – $105,365. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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